Lord Stanley's Cup was in the Bell Centre on Monday, but it would remain in its case. Tonight? That could change.
Josh Anderson's overtime winner in Game 4 ensured that the Montreal Canadiens would live to fight another day, but it's do-or-die the rest of the way. Tampa Bay is looking to ensure this series goes no further than a fifth game as they try to win their third title in franchise history and second in under 300 days.
Here are three things to watch on Wednesday evening in Florida:
Can Tampa Bay Finally Get Consistency On the Powerplay?
Tampa Bay's offense has been a juggernaut, but when it has come to special teams in this series, for the most part, Montreal has had an answer for them. Tampa's powerplay has gone 2/12 during this series, including going 0/5 in Game 4. On the man advantage, one of the most potent units in the NHL has struggled but credit has to be given to the Habs on the penalty kill. Montreal sits first in the NHL when it comes to playoff penalty kill percentage with a mark of 91.4% – the best from any team to make the Stanley Cup final.
Tampa's inability to finish off Montreal on the power play in overtime in Game 4 hurt them. If the Lightning are given a similar chance tonight, they can't let that happen again.
Montreal's Need To Score First
Whoever has scored first in each game of the series has won the game, and much like it was big for Tampa to strike early in Montreal, the same applies for Montreal at Amalie Arena.
The Canadiens have yet to make the Lightning press for a tying goal at home and the Canadiens are 12-2 when scoring first in a series this post-season. Montreal does their best work when they can put a team back on their heels.
Tampa Bay Thriving On High Danger Chances
One category that Tampa Bay has had control of has been high-danger scoring chances – expect more of the same in Game 5. In Games 3 and 4 combined, the Lightning dominated the totals to the tune of a 24-9 count over the Canadiens.
As much as the Lightning have to keep getting bodies to the net and in front of Carey Price, Montreal tonight has to find a way to keep the Lightning to the perimeter to slow down the opportunities in tight.